Navigating the Path to Inclusive AI: Insights from the 2024 London AI Summit

Davar Ardalan
5 min readJun 18, 2024


London AI Summit Panel: Empowering Diversity and Equity in Artificial Intelligence June 12, 2024. The insights from Mark Martin, Dr. Rashada Harry, Af Malhotra, and Deborah Womack serve as a call to action for stakeholders across the tech industry.

Coming from the US, it was surprising to see how similar the lack of inclusivity in AI is in the UK — same issues, same concerns, and yet AI is moving ahead at such a fast pace.

The 2024 London AI Summit brought together some of the brightest minds and most passionate advocates in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI), focusing on a topic of paramount importance: the need for greater inclusivity within the AI ecosystem.

A standout session from the summit was the roundtable titled “Empowering Diversity and Equity in Artificial Intelligence: Navigating the Path to Inclusive Innovation,” moderated by Mark Martin of UK Black Tech.

Mark Martin’s Call for Inclusivity

Mark Martin, a key figure in UK Black Tech, emphasized that the AI ecosystem still has a significant journey ahead to achieve true inclusivity. His opening remarks set the tone for a vibrant discussion on how to tackle the challenges and seize the opportunities to promote inclusivity in AI development and applications. Coming from the US, where inclusivity in AI is a significant issue, it was disheartening to realize these challenges persist in the UK as well.

Martin highlighted the severe underrepresentation of Black and African Caribbean individuals in AI research funding in the UK, pointing to systemic barriers that need addressing. He shared a troubling example of a denied funding application from the only applicant from this demographic, underscoring the critical need for more inclusive funding practices.

Martin criticized corporate inclusivity efforts as often being superficial “smoke and mirrors” — mere tick-box exercises. He argued that inclusivity should be embedded in the core values and culture of organizations rather than treated as an afterthought or business case.

Drawing on recent reports, Martin noted that young graduates are increasingly wary of companies that overtly market their inclusivity efforts as a business case. They prefer inclusivity to be an inherent part of a company’s values, reflecting a broader cultural change that organizations must embrace to attract top talent.

Professionalizing Inclusivity with AI

In a groundbreaking move, Martin and his team are developing a technology solution using general AI and large language models (LLMs). This “super brain” aims to provide decision-makers with rich, actionable insights, professionalizing inclusivity in the same way that functions like sales, marketing, and IT are professionalized. By doing so, Martin hopes to elevate inclusivity from a mere initiative to a core organizational competency.

Addressing the “Garbage In, Garbage Out” Phenomenon:

Martin advocated for the complete overhaul of flawed algorithms rather than minor adjustments. He emphasized the importance of scrutinizing data sets and algorithms used in AI to ensure they are free from biases and inaccuracies. He stressed that LLMs should be culturally rich and not just repackaging stereotypes in new, shiny AI forms.

Martin reiterated that inclusion is a prerequisite for true inclusivity, which in turn is essential for equity. He argued that organizations need to be willing to have uncomfortable conversations and take bold steps to foster a truly inclusive environment. Without inclusion, efforts towards inclusivity and equity are likely to fall short.

Martin passionately spoke about the role of individuals in driving change. He encouraged everyone to take ownership and challenge the status quo whenever they encounter inequities, reminding us that systemic change often begins with personal accountability and proactive engagement.

Insights from Other Panelists:

Dr. Rashada Harry: Championing Youth and Future Talent

Dr. Rashada Harry, an Enterprise Technologist at AWS and Founder of YFYA, emphasized the critical role of education and mentorship in empowering the next generation of tech leaders.

Her work through YFYA (Your Future, Your Ambition) aims to inspire young people to pursue careers in STEM, stressing the importance of visibility and representation in these fields. Dr. Harry’s insights underscored the need for systemic changes to support and nurture diverse talent from an early age.

Af Malhotra: Data-Driven Innovation

Af Malhotra, Founder and CEO of Diversity Economics AI, shared his innovative approach to integrating inclusivity into AI through data. His company’s platform focuses on DEI sustainability, data compliance, and reporting, complemented by an AI-driven “super brain” designed to enhance understanding and decision-making around DEI issues.

Malhotra’s vision for a machine with emotional intelligence (EQ) that can converse and influence human perspectives showcases the potential of AI to foster more inclusive and empathetic environments.

Deborah Womack: Intersectionality and Inclusion

Deborah Womack, a 2024 Women in Data® Top Twenty in Data & Tech award winner, provided a powerful narrative on the importance of intersectionality within the inclusivity discourse.

As a board member and advisor for multiple organizations, including Media Lake AI and the Royal National Institute of Blind People, Womack brings a wealth of experience in advocating for both diversity and disability inclusion.

She highlighted the critical intersection of race, disability, and gender, advocating for comprehensive strategies that address the multifaceted nature of identity and inclusion.

A Collective Vision for the Future

The roundtable concluded with a shared recognition of the complexities and the urgent need for continued efforts to embed inclusivity principles within the AI ecosystem. The panelists collectively underscored that while significant strides have been made, there is still much work to be done to create an AI landscape that truly reflects and serves the diverse fabric of society.

This content was created with the help of artificial intelligence, which helped organize the narrative, check grammar, and summarize important information to improve clarity and flow.

Davar Ardalan is the Founder of TulipAI, known for her skill in merging AI tools with creative content generation. She has developed a range of AI-driven solutions, including custom GPTs and virtual assistants.

Ardalan’s career features leadership roles at National Geographic and NPR News, as well as the White House Presidential Innovation Fellowship program, where she championed AI initiatives. Her research on Cultural AI, which emphasizes AI’s crucial role in preserving wisdom, nature, history, and culture, earned her a feature in the New York Times in March 2022.

Ardalan is also a respected Webby Awards Judge in the AI category and is co-authoring the anticipated 2025 book “AI and Community” with Taylor and Francis.



Davar Ardalan

Founder TulipAI. National Geographic, NPR News, SecondMuse, White House PIF Alum.